Kezang went to hospital this morning and was calling me and telling in deep anxious voice that my friend's child was hospitalized. I had heard the news of a young boy being attacked by pack of stray dogs in Khotokha about a week ago. The boy had gone beyond the fence to play when the pack of dogs attacked him. He was rescued by a monk who was passing by. And that boy happens to be my friend Damchoe's three year old son, who is now nursed back to health at Bajothang Hospital. It took 84 stitches on his head, back and arms to close his wounds. The boy is doing well now.
The Dog Issue:
|The repaired scalp|
However, it's time we pay serious attention to stray dogs. Some half hearted dog rehabilitation attempts have separated dogs from human population and now many dog-compounds are shut down. Homeless and hungry the abandoned dogs are now roaming forest and villages attacking cattles. And this year alone we have reports of two incidences where humans were attacked- one was in Haa last months and the other my friend's boy. What measures can be taken to reduce the risk of dogs attacking humans? Who should be taking care of this issue? How long should we wait until we start taking action?
Drug Shortage Issue:
Another problem that surfaced today was the shortage of Anti Rabies Vaccine (ARV), which is a must take vaccine for dog bitten victims. Even a smallest wound from dog bite requires this injection and in this case the little boy was bitten by around seven dogs and literally peeled off from head to back. Unfortunately ARV ran out of stock. Tencholing didn't have it, Thimphu only has enough for their patients and was waiting for the new stock to arrive in two weeks. My friends was asked to find it on his own. Medical Shops are handicapped by new policy.
It was boy's luck that Punakha Hospital had some doses left. He was taken to Punakha for the first dose but there is no guarantee if there will be any left when he goes for the second dose, which is on 17th May. I took the issue to Twitter and I was inspired by the support and concern shown by fellow Bhutanese. Some even offered to send from Delhi and another from Gelephug. Thank you to all the people who answered to my tweets this morning.
In such time we must awake to the reality that something in the system is not going good. Such emergency medications should be readily available in every corner of the country. I am hopeful this concern will be considered seriously by whoever is responsible. And if it's very difficult to pave through tedious Bhutanese procedures then why not allow private pharmacies to sell them?